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SALINAS, CA -- The sound of the auctioneer's gavel was music to the ears of some aspiring college students at the Florida Strawberry Growers Association's 28th annual Strawberry Jam awards banquet.

The event took place Saturday, Dec. 4, at the Red Rose Inn in Plant City, FL. The evening was dedicated to honoring Florida's best strawberry growers and presenting special scholarships to deserving students.

But one item that the Jam's agenda did not mention was a surprise live auction to help fund the Rodney Hutto Memorial Scholarship. The single item up for bid was a custom-made Musical Harvest, strawberry themed electric guitar donated by Colorful Harvest, an association member and producer of premium Florida strawberries. "Rodney Hutto was a friend to Colorful Harvest and the Florida strawberry industry, and we wanted to do something special to honor his memory," Doug Ranno, chief operating officer and managing partner of Colorful Harvest, said in a Dec. 9 press release.

The guitar was made to order by Musical Harvest from fine hardwoods including a deep red maple body, a green maple headstock and a variegated green cocobolo kalic fingerboard. While a past scholarship recipient, Jerod Parker, rocked the guitar on stage, attendees rocked the bidding. When the auctioneer's gavel came down, the guitar auction had raised over $3,200 for the scholarship fund.

"Colorful Harvest grows amazing strawberries near Belle Glade, Florida," Mr. Ranno said in the release. The company’s Florida crop gives a big boost to its year-round berry program, and it has substantially increased its Florida acreage for 2011, according to the release.